Effective learning of a complex and content-rich cognitive skill takes place most effectively through its rehearsal in an environment that, as closely as possible, simulates the real-world environment in which that skill would be put into practical use (hence, for example, flight simulators for trainee pilots). Multimedia and virtual reality can model such environments.
The university lecture is, for example, a paradigmatically passive non-participatory activity; simple “page-turning” multimedia may provide the learner with some degree of engagement in the learning process, but may still be “inter-passive” rather than properly interactive; high-quality multimedia should involve the learner in active task-based problem-solving.
Freed from the residential constraint, telematics-based programs can support the “mass-customization” of learning through pick-and-mix learning-on-demand.
If structured high-quality learning materials are available online to whoever has access to a computer and modem, without constraints of time and place, then the traditional residential teaching university becomes – from the students’ perspective at least – largely redundant. (This would then also enable universities to recapture their historical role as centers for research and for the “pursuit of knowledge,” as is exemplified in the UK for instance by residential research activities at the Milton Keynes campus of the Open University.)
There is nothing natural about taking 18-year-olds out of the world for three years into the cloistered halls of academia; there is nothing in the nature of history or physics or economics or whatever else, as disciplines, that determines that they can be neatly bounded and bundled up in three-year packages … with new technologies relentlessly redefining the way we work and live, it may not merely be an anachronism to continue to embrace the model of the traditional residential university as the primary locus of learning – it may arguably be an impediment to appropriate learning and ultimately a threat to growth, both economic and personal.
The innovations in academic work space are elevated to a contest for institutional survival as these technologies have weakened the “natural monopoly” of educational institutions once afforded by physical presence. The birthing of this new work space will have its most pragmatic manifestations and fiercest battles in defining what is an accepted education, the purview of accreditation. Accreditation, a process that itself has relied on a sense of place for its enforcement, is ill-prepared for this contest.
In terms of opportunities, there are a wide variety of novel ways of generating traffic to a destination Web site. There is also the potential to model the diffusion of site visitors as a function of the location from which the consumer entered the site. Recently, search-agent sites have shown potential as high-traffic vehicles for advertising sponsorship. Web-traffic-control sites face a number of challenges. The proliferation of commercial Web sites means that it is increasingly difficult to find anything on the Web, especially if one is not looking for it! Therefore, identifying pivotal cross-linking opportunities will be critical.
Fee-based content sites are expected to proliferate as secure payment mechanisms are implemented. To date, however, the model has met with only limited success, perhaps because consumers may be unwilling to pay for content delivered in this manner … Sponsored-content sites sell advertising space to reduce or eliminate the necessity of charging fees to visitors … In the third type of content model, merchants or advertisers pay a provider for information placement in an organized listing in a Searchable Database … Opportunities abound for content sites, as they closely parallel traditional media models … For some firms, e.g., Wired and Time/Warner, they offer a new channel for expansion … to reach an advertiser-coveted audience. In addition, such sites may provide meaningful exposure that would otherwise be lost in the unstructured clutter that currently typifies the Web. Additionally, content sites can demonstrate innovation, are efficient compared to their terrestrial counterparts, and are, in theory, easy to implement.
The Web offers opportunity for competition on the “specialty” axis instead of the price axis. From a marketing perspective, it is rarely desirable to compete solely on the basis of price. Instead, marketers attempt to satisfy needs on the basis of benefits sought … The ability to compete on dimensions other than price will become especially critical in categories where brands are perceived as substitutes, since it allows for more opportunities to differentiate along other dimensions.
Web sites are available on demand to consumers 24 hours a day. The interactive nature of the medium can be used by marketers to hold the attention of the consumer by engaging the consumer in an asynchronous “dialogue” that occurs at both parties’ convenience. This capability of the medium offers unprecedented opportunities to tailor communications precisely to individual customers, allowing individual consumers to request as much information as desired. Further, it allows the marketer to obtain relevant information from customers for the purpose of serving them more effectively in the future.